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October 16, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-16

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OPINION

a

Page 4

0

Friday, October 16, 1981

The Michigan Daily

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCII, No. 32

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Weasel,
YOURS BACAx
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By Robert Lencl

LATER
SX N f WORtz. I',
WW" TAKE
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bF Hl IA.
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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Fighting book censorship

11

1 1

m sue.

l.w I- -. p ~ - - . __________________________

HE ONE PORTION of the Consti-
tution stressed most often in
elementary and secondary school
social studies classes is the First
Amendment. As American citizens,
the students are repeatedly told, they
are free to say, print, believe, or read
anything they choose. But in-
creasingly, school districts have been
ignoring their own lesson. And now,
they may get some added help from
the Supreme Court.
The high court announced this week
it will decide how far school officials
can go in banning books from school
libraries. The case that will be decided
involved a New York school district,
where school officials removed nine
"objectionable" books from the high
school library. The books included
"Slaughterhouse Five," by Kurt Von-
negut; "Soul on Ice," by Eldridge
Cleaver; "Black Boy," by Richard
Wright; and "Best Short Stories by
Negro Wriers," edited by Langston
Hughes.
If the Supreme Court does decide to

allow the local communities to censor
books on school library shelves, they
will be dehying school children a fun-
damental First Amendment right. It is
ironic that schools could be allowed to
infringe on the very freedoms they so
often tout in their classrooms.
The problem of censorship in schools
is further compounded when local
stereotypes enter the picture. For in-
stance, more than half of the books
removed from the shelves of the New
York school district were written by
blacks or dealt with minority issues.
Community allegations that various
works are pornographic or contain ob-
scene language are often covers for
racism.
The Supreme Court has the oppor-
tunity to finally settle this issue,
thereby reaffirming students' First
Amendment rights. The high court
must not allow local communities the
right to censor books from school
libraries. This will only deny school
children their right to be exposed to all
levels and realms of literature.

I

New dilemmas in France 's

Central American pa

Rationalizing selfishness

THE PRESIDENT has made it all
too clear what his priorities are
regarding U.S. aid to developing coun-
tries.
Last night, in a speech before the
World Affairs Council, President
Reagan reaffirmed what top ad-
ministration officials have been saying
for weeks: The United States is going
to emphasize private invest-
ment-rather than direct U.S. gover-
nment financial assistance-as a
method for aiding the development of
Third World nations.
The speech was rather revealing. In
practically the same breath, Reagan
praised free enterprise capitalism for
the freedoms it provides and praised a
system of foreign investment that all
too often robs individuals in poor coun-
tries of those freedoms.
The president's position seems
aimed more at ensuring the continued
domination of poor countries by U.S..

based multinationals rather than at
helping the unfortunate countries im-
prove their lot.
By emphasizing foreign investment
by U.S. firms as the primary source of,
economic development, the president
is actually working against the
freedoms of the people of less
developed nations. What the less
developed nations really need is
genuine indigenous development, not
exploitation by multinational cor-
porations.
Indeed, the speech came perilously
close to being a mere justification of a
reduced U.S. commitment to foreign
aid, rather than a design for easing
world poverty.
Instead of searching for ways to
rationalize his administration's selfish
inclinations to resist sacrificing for the
development of other nations, the ad-
ministration should look for ways to
encourage their growth with more
financial assistance-not less.

By William Orme
French foreign. ministers are
not often personally dispatched to
cities as geopolitically obscure as
Tegucigalpa. Yet one of the first
overseas assignments President
Francois Mitterrand handed
Foreign Minister Claude
Cheysson included a brief visit to
the isolated, villagelike capital of
Honduras, as well as stops in
Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Poin-
tedly omitting Guatemala and El
Salvador from his itinerary,
Cheysson declared to
local newsmen that France inten-
ds to back local social reform ef-
forts in Central America and no
longer will supply arms to gover-
nments which use them "to
repress their people."
Cheysson concluded his trip in
Mexico City where he and his
Mexican counterpart, Jose
Castaneda, prepared an official
statement recognizing El
Salvador leftist opposition
movement as "a representative
political force" meriting a role in
"the negotiations needed for a
political solution to the crisis."
Although U.S. State Depar-
tment reaction was carefully
muted, the joint Mexican-French
declaration represented the
strongest complaint yet lodged
by American allies against the
Reagan policy of unswerving
support for El Salvador's
military-civilian junta.
CENTRAL AMERICA might
seem an improbable venue for a
paris-Washington foreign policy
clash. France has few historical
ties to the region, its trade
relations traditionally have been
minimal, and Central America's
internal disputes are not of
critical concern to the French
electorate.
Yet President Mitterrand ap-
pears to see U.S. Central
American involvement as an
ideal opportunity for France to
reassert its traditional
diplomatic independence, in an
ideological direction clearly con-
trasting with that of his
predecessor.
The legacy of Valery Giscard
d'Estaing may prove hard to
shake, however. France's own
involvement in Central America
during the former president's
seven-year term has received lit-
tle attention but it included ship-
ments of aircraft and other ar-
maments, ethically questionable
bids for lucrative public works
contracts, and-perhaps most
importantly-the emergence of
its state-controlled oil company,
Els-Aquitaine, as the sole
operator and part owner of Cen-
tral America's only commercial
oil field.
ALTHOUGH THE GISCARD
d'Estaing administration was

French President Francois Mitterrani'

notably friendly with El
Salvador, selling its air force
Allouette and Lama helicopters
and building a small government-
run tuna fishing port, its most in-
timate local relationship was
with Guatemala. The French fir-
st began courting Guatemala's
military rulers during the Ford
administration when U.S.
policymakers opposed heavy
arms sales to the region. France,
however, in aggressive pursuit of
arms contracts with Third World
countries of all philosophical
colors sold Guatemala eight of its
AMX-13 tanks, replete with
75mm cannon, and concessionary
credit arrangements.
In 1979, two years after Jimmy
Carter's human rights stance had
led Guatemala to announce it
would "refuse" any U.S. military
assistance, the French also sold
the Guatemalan air force three
Fouga Magister trainer jets.
The Guatemalans again were
grateful: With officially san-
ctioned political killings claiming
more than 2,000 victims a year,
Guatemala was becoming
something of an international.
pariah, rejected by both its
staunchest ally-the United
States-and by European and
Latin AmericanChristian and
Social Democrats, whose
Guatemalan colleagues were
among the principle targets of
this persecution.
FRANCE WAS only returning a
favor, however. The Guatemalan
government had long been plan-
ning several major projects, in-
cluding hydroelectric dams and
the replacement of its century-
old Pacific port facility, which

ordinarily would have been
largely financed with low-
interest, long-tenured credits
from multilateral lending agen-
cies, particularly the Inter-
American Development Bank.
But Guatemalan leaders resen-
ted Carter's diplomatic clout in
the IADB, where the United
States exercises effective veto
power. They also disliked the
IADB's strict requirement for
competitive public bid-
ding-which severely con-
strained opportunities for graft
and political favoritism.
Enter the French. The contract
for a $150 million Pacific port
complex, the largest public
works undertaking initiated by
the Lucas government,was
declared a "national emergen-
cy," and quietly awarded without
prior announcements or bidding
to France's huge Dragages et
Travaux Publics. Financing, at
commercial rates of 13 percent
and upward, was provided by a
consortium of Parisian banks
with French government guaran-
tees. The Guatemalans then
began informal negotiations for
similar French commercial
financing of a $900 million
hydroelectric plant, the costliest
public investment ever contem-
plated in Central America.
BUT THE MOST intriguing
aspect of the Franco-Guatemalan
relationship under Giscard
d'Estaing concerns neither arms
sales nor pork-barrel port
schemes. Several years ago, a
small Luxembourg-based firm,
Basic Resources International
(BRISA), discovered oil in
Guatemala's undeveloped north.

BRISA, too undercapitalized to
exploit its reserves, was then'
taken over by billionaire
publisher and chain store oWre
Sir James Goldsmith.
A personal friend of President
Giscard d'Estaing and a major
force in Parisian financial bir-
cles. Goldsmith used his banking
connections to persuade Els
Aquitaine, the world's ninth-
largest oil company-two-thirds
owned by the French gqOer-
nment-to buy 20 percenChr~
BRISA's concession. Els'tAGO
became the operator of BRISA's
production and exploration ven-
ture.
At the time of the Freiii.
presidential election, ELS had
further agreed in principle t in-
crease its share of the B 04A
operation to 50 percent. Itut
Guatemalan authorities quashed
the plan when Mitterrand vas
elected, loathe to cement 'a
business partnership with 'a
government whose new lead4
had just announced the appon-
' tment of one-time he Guevera
companion Regis Debray as a
foreign policy adviser.
ELS sTILL retains its 20 Der-
cent interest, as well as a sharebf
two other nearby concessio┬žs.'As
Guatemala receives a minikniim
of 55 percent of the oil produced,
President Mitterrand is in: t
awkward position of helping O
bankroll a government whose
policies he officially deplores.t
The Debray appointment, the
Cheyson junket, and' tihe
declaration with Mexico of' up-
port for the Salvadoran leftdll
have dramatized Mitterran'd's
oppostition to the policies"of
Reagan and Giscard dEstaing
But these symbolic steps wiltiiot
suffice as long as France niai-
tains its own investments in
Guatemala's oil fields.
Moreover, under the leadership
of Giscard d'Estaing, Frane
became the non-communist
world's second-largest arms sp-
plier.
The Socialists inherited'in
economy where armaments ac-
count for 8 percent of total expor-
ts-the highest percentage of any
major industrialized i *
try-along with an arms in ry
now 60 percent state-owned ow
Francois Mitterrand choos t to
resolve the conflicts bet.gen
Socialist idealism and French
domestic economic demands4ill
set the true tone of his plhies
toward Central America and'he
rest of the developing world.
Orme is a staff writer fr
Central American ReportJ
wrote this article for P".ic
News Service.

i

600D ;"DEA.

I SEE WHERE
THE PRESIDENT WANTS
PRIVATE ENTERPRISE AND
VOLUNTEER GROUPS To DO
MORE FOR THE POOR,
SINCE THE 6oVERNMENT
IS DOING LESS.
f k.

THEY "< LD
BUILD
PRE FABRICATED
'REAGANVI LPLES'
AND
CALL 'EM
PRIVATE
HOUSING.
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